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Genes are tricky, especially when it comes to your body’s ability to utilize nutrients. Not to worry—there are certain forms of vitamins that work, regardless of genetic factors. One of the most common examples of this is folate, a nutrient that we all need for DNA synthesis and brain health. Because of a common genetic variation, many of us (some stats say up to 40%) have a hard time processing synthetic folic acid, a form of folate very common in vitamins. This can lead to folate shortfalls, which manifests as fatigue, a feeling of weakness, a sour mood and some more serious health effects. So how do you find the best form for all genetic types? Let’s get into it.
What is the MTHFR gene variation?
The MTHFR gene controls the production of an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. MTHFR enzyme helps the body process and convert folate (also known as vitamin B9). This conversion helps the body create amino acids that we need to build proteins and other essential compounds. People with an MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into the form that the body needs to create those amino acids.